$33bn in 15 years. Trump has openly called to end support for Pakistan. Money talks but money walks too. As a defence analyst at the turn of the century it was interesting to see how the open acknowledgement of support was received by Pakistan. One of the best bets in emerging markets is to back the horse backed by the US. The Karachi main stock index soared after George W Bush began to pour aid into the country.
It was a gullible experiment. It was no surprise to any defence chiefs that the Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) was a fervent sponsor of Al Qaeda, LeT and Taliban terrorism for decades. Search many a cartoon on the ISI and it will have whatever Prime Minister (at the time Musharraf) on a puppet hand. The cartoons even showed Obama being stabbed in the back. Indeed one could argue that the killing of Osama bin Laden was a gift from the ISI because the world’s most wanted man was of no use to it any more. These aren’t mere coincidences.
So it is rather ironic that Trump’s calling out of what has been a glaring miscalculation for almost two decades was already being priced in the markets when Trump won the election. The Pakistani government cannot be the least bit surprised by the president’s move.
We need look no further than the Indian government now holding hands with the US. A long term arms trader with Russia has now been replaced by the Americans. As China has been cozying up with Pakistan (the funding of the Karakoram Highway (aka the China- Pakistan Peace Highway makes a good example)) the US has done nothing to thwart the glaring problem that has faced them for years until now.
After almost a decade of appeasement, it is refreshing to see leadership that doesn’t mince words on making countries make true their loyalty commitments in public. Pakistan made true on the satire behind the cartoons about the ISI.
We can live in a bubble and deny the bleeding obvious in front of us or have a commitment to draw proper red lines that rogues get clear messages that overstepping will see consequences.